One of the major problems in a healthcare organization is ensuring patient safety. There are lots of Patient Safety Triggers within a healthcare organization. Every year, healthcare organizations have to deal with errors, injuries, mistakes, accidents, infections, malpractices, and other patient safety triggers. Studies have shown that about 440,000 people die every year from preventable errors in hospitals and that hospitals can be breeding grounds for infectious disease. Avoiding patient safety triggers and ensuring the safety of every patient that walks into a hospital is the job of every hospital staff from the chief of surgery, to the burses, to the cleaning staff. There are things that can be done and structures that can be put in place to ensure that patient safety is always guaranteed and that any safety issues or errors are dealt with properly and swiftly.
How to Deal with Errors and Patient Safety Triggers
Sometimes, fatal or huge patient safety issue started with one small error that could have been fixed or one small issue that was left unattended to. When an error occurs it should be reported immediately. It doesn’t matter if you are a patient who notices the error, say something and get someone’s attention to it so it can be fixed. Do not wait and hope someone will notice it, or delay if it appears urgent. Hospital staff are busy and sometimes work long hours. It’s very possible they will miss things that would have otherwise been noticed immediately either because they are tired or too overworked.
So always draw attention to errors if you notice any. When you draw attention, make sure to be respectful to the doctor or nurse. A lot of mistakes are honest mistakes and being demeaning or disrespectful will only serve to upset your care provider or worse, ruin your doctor-patient relationship. Even though you are being respectful, also be stern and stand your ground if a provider insists on ignoring errors. If it’s something you can’t see, make sure that something is done to fix it and check back and ask more questions. Speaking up for your safety or the safety of a family member is important. You must ensure you are getting the best care and that all patient safety triggers are dealt with.
Watch Central line-associated bloodstream infections
One of the more frequently occurring patient safety triggers is central line-associated bloodstream infections. Hospitals should work towards preventing these kinds of infections as they can be very deadly. Some major steps a doctor and nurse can take to prevent this are: wash your hands, use full-barrier precautions, clean the skin with chlorhexidine, avoid femoral lines, and remove unnecessary lines. These steps may seem simple or obvious but when someone is overworked or a place is understaffed or there are too many patients to attend to, it can be easy to forget or step or skip a step to save time. Studies have shown that taking these steps can majorly and significantly reduce healthcare-associated infections
Have a Proper Discharge Process
One of the problems of hospitals is the problem of readmissions. There are many steps that can be taken to reduce readmission rates and prevent it in many cases. Hospitals can assign healthcare personnel to monitor patients closely before they are discharged and monitor rare cases after they have been discharged. Hospitals can create a fool-proof discharge plan that contains all the steps and a schedule for the patient about upcoming appointments, all medication that needs to be taken after discharge.
One of the causes of re-admission is patient failing to follow instructed steps like taking their medication, eating the right food, avoiding alcohol, or coming in for scheduled check-ups. Setting up reminders for patients and giving them emails and phone numbers that they can easily contact to ask any questions can help reduce readmissions and any patient safety triggers that would come with it.
Build Patient Safety Teams
Building teams that help ensure patients safety and also respond to patient safety issues and tackle them before they escalate. The team would be in charge of training hospital staff on how to spot safety issues and respond quickly. They could also train hospital staff to carry out effective communication between various teams and various levels of the organization. Perfect communication means that the healthcare organization would run more smoothly and this means that mistakes would be harder to slip through the cracks and when there is an issue it can be handled swiftly.
Reduce Work Hours and Shifts
As mentioned earlier above, one of the causes of errors or mistakes in a hospital is that doctors and nurses work long hours and shifts and this leads them to be tired and overworked and hence not as alert as they should be. When a medical personnel is tired and fatigued they are more likely to make mistakes and miss other important details. Hospitals should ensure that their doctors, nurses, and residents have enough rest between shifts and there should be a limit on how many hours a doctor can walk in one shift without getting some rest. Hospitals can put measures in place to ensure sleep supervision and safety measures for when a medical personal is fatigued.
Use Patient Saftey Consulting Services
At times, healthcare organizations might have to employ the help of outside organizations specialized in patient safety measures and in avoiding patient safety triggers. These organizations employ specialized individuals who are specialized in sporting errors, pain points, and safety violations that’ll otherwise go unnoticed. These organizations are called Patient Safety Organizations. They help create environments where healthcare organizations can operate without fear of patient safety triggers and errors. They help reduce the hazards and errors associated with patient care.